Everyone has the potential to be exactly who they want to be live a life full of love, happiness and prosperity. However, the first step to getting to the point where you can express that is always the hardest. We live in a society that paints vulnerability as a fatal trait to have, and thus anything that requires being vulnerable, like communication, become extremely difficult.
I did not grow up in a household where healthy communication was practiced. I learned what good and bad communication styles looked like by experience, and some lessons were harder than others. I’ve put together my biggest tips for effective communication that I’ve found to validate both parties, gives a clean and clear picture of a situation and allows for both parties to feel heard, understood and not attacked.
1) Listen without the intent to respond.
If you know exactly what to say when the other person has finished speaking, chances are instead of truly listening to them, you have been thinking of your response the whole time. The problem with this, is that you may miss key things the other person has said, not only with their words, but their actions. How I feel I’ve become a better listener is to not only listen to words, but look at their facial expressions, movements, tone of voice and energy. When the person has finished talking, I ask them if they are finished expressing their thoughts, if they are, and I need more clarification I will often summarize what they have said back to me in my own words, allow them to correct me if I’ve misunderstood something, and then offer my reply. The most heated of conversations don’t need to end in a blood bath if an approach like this can be employed. Practices that should be avoided if possible include talking over one another, shouting, screaming or any other communication style that is aggressive in nature. (Unless necessary, ya dig? *Gangsta pose*)
2) It’s OK to put a conversation on hold.
If you’re not ready to have a conversation, it shouldn’t be had. Having it would be counterproductive and more than likely leave the other party with more questions than answers. The other party should respect boundaries and wait. However, there is a difference between preparing for a conversation and running from it. If the other party seems to be taking their time, you’re best bet is to channel your energy into something else and leave them alone.
3) Walk away if need be.
Defend yourself if you must, but a conversation should never escalate to a altercation if it can be avoided. The only physical part of one should be a hug or a handshake. If it’s another outside of those regards, let this be a challenge to leave that in the past. Communication should not include brute force, true understanding can never be reached by such methods. Instilling fear is not a tactic that produced results everyone will be happy with.
I challenge you to practice at least one of these tactics in your next conversation and reflect on how it made you and the other party feel and any differences you notice in how easy or how difficult it was to express yourself. Breaking old chains is not easy, but doing so is extremely important. If you ever want to move forward and grow, rusty chains are better left behind. Please let me know what communication styles work for you below or share with a friend who could hear this.
Until Next Time Tribe,